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3 Ways Living With a Toddler is Like Fasting

7 February 2014

I used to fast. Especially, as is probably the case with a lot of people, early in my life as a Christian. Once I got pregnant, obviously, that changed, and I haven’t really fasted for almost two years now.

Recently our church decided to fast together for three weeks. It was up to the individual to decide how/what kind of fast was right for her, and as I considered how I could participate – since El Meatball since nurses several times a day – I realized:

My whole life is kind of a fast.
Three ways that living with a toddler is like fasting:

1 – You’re in prayer more often than usual.

And all the mamas in the house said …

Please, God, let him fall asleep.

Please, Lord, let him stay asleep.

Jesus, please let that not be poo. 

I’m sure I’ve prayed healing over him more times, in the 13 months he’s been alive, than I have over myself in the nine years I’ve been a Christian. Sometimes because he was sick. Sometimes because he coughed one too many times in a day.

I’ve denied the tenants of my own faith by asking God to impose on his free will in a myriad of circumstances. I’ve tried to bargain – effectively anteing my own son’s autonomy for an extra-long nap on a busy day, or the satisfaction of seeing him eat solid food. (I’m not proud of this, and I hope someday the Lord and I can just have a little chuckle as we quickly flip through this season in my life.)

And I’ve pleaded for help probably daily. I knew James 1:5 before, but now I know that it’s “James 1:5.” I cling to it like I cling to John 3:16 some days, like if it’s not true all hope is surely lost.

2 – You’re denying your flesh.

Denying it food or the morning shower because there just isn’t time. Denying it junk food or sweets because the baby is RIGHTHERE and wants to eat whatever I’m eating. Denying it a hot meal because I’m either sharing it with him, or helping him eat his, or because he has this spider-sense that wakes him out of a dead sleep if I sit down with something hot to eat or drink.

Denying it potty breaks because he’s seriously, finally, just about to fall asleep.

Denying it potty breaks because he follows me everywhere and it’s not worth trying to pee with one hand on the toilet paper roll and one hand keeping his hands out of the toilet and one hand holding the garbage can lid down.

Denying it adequate rest because the baby isn’t tired, or the baby is teething, or the baby has a fever. Or because the baby didn’t take a good nap that day and now I’m up late doing everything that didn’t get done while the sun was up.

I may not have done a fast for almost two years, but I’ve died to self more than ever in that same time.

3 – You feel closer to God than you ever have.

This chubby little toddler face is a gateway to heaven. Smushed against his crib mattress while he’s sleeping, beaming at something he finds amusing, distressed and looking to me for comfort – it pushes my heart to shed old constraints and reach for the heart of God.

I thought I knew love before I held this boy, but I didn’t.

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Now, when I read the Father addressing His “Son,” I start to understand. When I read Him call me His daughter, I understand even less. When I hear the Son call out to His Father in His hour of greatest need, I feel, for the first time, a piece of the Father’s heartache and sacrifice.

I understand why, when I was lost, His Spirit plagued my conscience over my sin. Why He drafted over 600 laws before faith was revealed in Christ. Why He still, even when redemption is readily available, forbids certain behaviors. Why He urges us to pray, to worship, to study His Word, to be in His presence. It’s not for spite or malice or ego, it’s for love.

I cradle my little man in my lap after a bedtime story and as he drifts to sleep we say our prayers. We pray for our family and friends and church and all the rest, and as his little eyes get too heavy to hold open I am closer to God than anywhere else on earth. And we talk.

I thank Him for this little miracle that He has entrusted to us, and He and I speak blessings over him. We talk about sons and we talk about daughters. We talk about the past and about the future. Sometimes we talk about the weather.

And then, eventually, my stomach or my bladder or my arms have reached their limit, and I leave my toddler in his crib with one more divine Thank You for all the unanswered little prayers and all the extra opportunities to tame my flesh that individually look like raindrops, but together split His light to reveal an amazing, beautiful promise.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Kassandra permalink
    8 February 2014 10:22 PM

    This is so beautiful. Glory to God.

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